Football: Gritty Grays bounce back into play-off places

Grays ath

Isthmian North

Histon 0 v 1 Grays Athletic

BLUES produced a gritty performance to claim the points and record their first win against Histon and a first clean sheet of the season. Building on a first half Steve King goal they stood firm in the second under an arial bombardment to get their season back on track. Despite the heavy playing surface Blues played the percentages, building through midfield when the opportunity presented itself and going long to release their front runners. From Danny Sambridge to Joao Carlos every player was committed to the cause spurred on by the large number of vociferous travelling fans.

Both teams took time to adapt to the heavy conditions with Histon opting for a route one approach and they had the first attacking opportunity when a searching cross into the box saw Ed Rolph flash a header just wide of the upright. It was the hosts who shaded the opening period pushing Blues back but eventually having adjusted to the conditions Blues looked the more incisive team. George Purcell was making intelligent runs – not always picked up by his team mates but an incisive Mitch Hahn pass set him free sending a fierce effort whistling over.

The host main threats were coming from long balls to their front runners and the long throws of Max York which could have caused problems but they found a steeliness in Blues resistance remaining dogged and determined to protect their goal with staunch defensive headers so much so that Sambridge was rarely troubled.

Ryan Sammons exploited space out wide working well with Purcell, who was denied an opening goal after a Macauley Joynes cross was met improvising a volley bringing a one handed save from Sam Roach. Hahn then broke free only to be denied by the outstretched leg of Roach. Histon responded quickly and could have gone in front when Danny Gould unleashed a thunderbolt cannoning off the bar but Blues responded when a Joynes free kick found the head of King, who glanced the gentlest of headers past Roach in the 39th minute to put them in front.

HT 0-1

Within the first minute of the restart Purcell raced clear sliding a shot inches wide of the upright, but not surprisingly Histon upped the tempo in search of the equaliser pumping the ball forward at every opportunity but they found Blues in no mood to surrender their lead stubbornly resisting under the arial threat.

Content to let Histon have possession in their own half Blues forced the hosts to overhit their passes increasing their frustration which led to a series of niggly fouls answered by yellow cards from the referee.

Blues rearguard stood firm, yes they rode their luck at times as crosses rained in, but Sambridge only had one save of note fired straight at him making a comfortable save. A succession of corners failed to provide a clear opportunity for Histon, Blues took heart after weathering the storm and began to see more of the ball. Joynes and Carlos worked the left flank and found Purcell a willing outlet.

A late flurry from Histon proved fruitless, Blues remained defiant allowing them to run down the clock and secure the points.

It wasn’t a game for the purists, the cloying surface affecting both sides, but for Blues it was a hard working win which will bring added confidence .

Sambridge, Sammons, Joynes, McQueen, King, Clark, Fox (Pindy 77), Hahn, Dark, Purcell, Carlos( Ogunrinde 90).

Subs not used; Pearce, Adebiyi, Kayembe

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